News 19 Apr 2010

AMA SBK: Young sweeps home round at Road Atlanta

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young scored his first ever double AMA Superbike race victories at Road Atlanta in Georgia over the weekend, moving up to third in the series standings and impressing at his home round of the championship.

For Saturday’s race, Young lined up next to Daytona double winner Zemke on his National Guard Jordan Suzuki. Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes was next up with Auto Club Speedway winner Tommy Hayden on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki completing the front row.

The fireworks started early as Josh Hayes started rolling slightly before the start and was deemed to have gained a competitive advantage by leading into turn one. Hayden had a great start and was second going up the hill into turn one, followed by Young, Zemke, Larry Pegram on his Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati and an impressive Tray Batey, making his return to AMA Pro Racing on his Vesrah Suzuki.

The first four quickly broke away but it was determined that Hayes and also fifth starting Taylor Knapp on his Suzuki had violated the jump start rule and were to be assessed a penalty. Hayes came into pit lane for his penalty and unfortunately, the fast running Batey suffered a fall at the turn six area of the track. Batey was in a dangerous situation and the red flag was immediately shown to the competitors.

Unfortunately, Hayes was in the process of serving his penalty and Knapp hadn’t made his way to pit lane to serve his ride through penalty. Batey was transported to the infield care center and then airlifted to Gwinnett Medical Center for further evaluation.

After a delay, the field resumed racing with 17 laps remaining. At the restart, Hayes lined up in his previous position and he, Young, Hayden and Zemke resumed their intense battle at the front of the field. Young took the lead and as his teammate dropped back, it looked like Young was going to follow Hayden’s example from the last round and take his first AMA Pro American SuperBike win. But both Hayes and Zemke were going to do all they could to prevent this from happening.

Hayes looked like he had the measure of Young, but then it was Zemke that was putting on a charge and he rode up to second place. Behind this battle, it was a somewhat lonely Ben Bostrom on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha ahead of a very solid John Hopkins riding his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki ahead of his teammate, Chris Ulrich on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki, who continues to run very nicely in 2010.

The sidelined Aaron Yates watched from the Jordan Team pit as young Brett McCormick rode Yates’ regular Jordan Suzuki, but misfortune struck McCormick as he fell off at turn six on lap eight. Zemke had a slight bobble and Hayes was by in an instant, now pressuring Young as the race wound down.

Hayden had made a late charge and he was now attacking Zemke and at the finish, Hayden did end up third. But it was Josh Hayes who made a strong pass into the turn ten complex and held the lead to the line to take the win on the track. Young had given it his all and he was a disappointed second, his first win almost in his grasp.

After the race, two separate protests were filed with AMA Pro Racing officials and after careful deliberation and detailed information from Timing and Scoring, it was determined that Hayes hadn’t actually completed his penalty prior to the red flag period and he was given a time penalty of 21.4 seconds which dropped him down to sixth place.

This gave the win to Young and Hayden was now second with Zemke third and Bostrom fourth followed by Hopkins in fifth.

Hayes was the aforementioned sixth ahead of Ulrich in seventh, the first rider’s standing that was unaffected by the penalty. Taylor Knapp recovered from his completed ride through penalty to finish eighth ahead of Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha rider Chris Clark and Barrett Long flew the flag for Ducati on his Longevity Racing Ducati, finishing tenth after Larry Pegram suffered mechanical issues which forced him to make a pit stop early and finish 14th.

Come Sunday, Young took an extremely hard fought and popular win in race two of the Suzuki SuperBike Showdown.

Hayes on the Team Graves Yamaha passed Young’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Tommy Hayden on lap four and Young and Hayes put on a display of clean, hard fought motorcycle racing of the highest possible quality all the way to the end of the 20-lap AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike race.

After the difficult situation surrounding Saturday’s AMA Pro American SuperBike race where AMA Pro officials made an error enforcing a penalty to Hayes for a jumped start, it was determined after a thorough examination of various factors and information that a time penalty was given to Hayes, which moved him from first place in Saturday’s race to sixth.

Young was declared the winner, his first in AMA Pro American SuperBike competition but everyone, fans and participants would have liked to have seen Young take the checkers outright for his first victory.

On Sunday, both Young and Hayes set out to give the fans another great race and this time each wanted to win it in style. The two did not disappoint, once Hayes got past Hayden, he put on a demonstration of why he is a champion as he fought every inch of the way in battling only inches behind Young lap after lap. Those two just plain disappeared into the distance and only Hayden could even keep in touch with the battling duo.

Jake Zemke riding his National Guard Jordan Suzuki tried hard to stay with the first three but he and the others behind had nothing for the very determined first two riders. Larry Pegram on his Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati fought hard all day with first Taylor Knapp on his Suzuki and then also a rejuvenated John Hopkins on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki.

Hopkins’s M4 Monster Energy Suzuki teammate Chris Ulrich also had another strong ride and he fought the good fight with Hopkins. Ben Bostrom had a tough day on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha and he pitted early to check for a mechanical problem and then, after rejoining, showed his class by moving over smartly for the leaders before pulling back in to the pits for good to end his day.

It really was just a two man show and Hayes tried everything he could, even falling back just slightly for a few laps but then as the race wound down, he made another valiant charge to get by Young. Hayes had the slightest wobble coming out of turn seven on the last lap and that was all Young needed as he dove down into the turn ten complex for the final time, Hayes just wasn’t close enough to try a pass.

Coming out from under the bridge down to the last corner, Young braked as late as he could, the Yoshimura Suzuki twitching under the strain of his later than late braking but he held it together nicely and took the flag for what is officially his second AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike win. But today he celebrated it in style with a high five from Daytona SportBike rider Danny Eslick on his way into Victory Lane and with a smoky burnout once he arrived.

AMA Pro Racing long time official starter Bobby Lemming presented Young with the traditional honor of the actual race checkered flag to commemorate the well deserved win.

Hayes was a classy second and is now back at the pace that brought him seven wins in 2009. Hayden took third, completing a strong weekend for him and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team. Zemke took fourth ahead of Hopkins (fifth), Pegram (sixth) Knapp was seventh with Ulrich eighth. Chris Clark on the second Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha was ninth and Barret Long on the Longevity Racing Ducati finished tenth.

The second of two AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL took to the track to see if they could improve on what was a spectacular show on Saturday. For the many fans in attendance, the field of 31 Daytona SportBikes did not disappoint. And at the end of another spellbinding race it was Saturday’s winner, Martin Cardenas, who took the win on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki.

Click here for detailed results